ABSTRACT

My research on anurans has been diverse: biogeography, speciation, acoustics, polyandry, sperm competition, and conservation. My interests in biology started in natural history but, in the late 1960s as an undergraduate student, I was receptive to emerging new ideas in biogeography and evolutionary biology: continental drift and neutral theory. My focus in this “Perspective” is an explanation of how diversity has evolved in the frog fauna of southwestern Australia, where I have worked since 1978. I discuss the roles of range fragmentation, genetic drift, directional sexual selection, polyploidy, and simultaneous polyandry as processes driving the evolution of diversity in the sometimes-bizarre frog fauna of southwestern Australia. I identify features that can characterize polyandrous anurans: e.g., large testes, sperm morphology, and, possibly, complex calls with an example of the latter in Geocrinia leai. I discuss how current anuran life histories vary across rainfall and temperature gradients and how derivation of more-arid adapted forms is a well-defined historic biogeographic pattern in southwestern Australia. My observations over time leave me cautiously optimistic about the prospects for frogs affected by global warming.

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